When parents divorce, one important component of the process is the parenting plan. A parenting plan is an outline that shows how both parents will handle different aspects of raising the children. In the best situations, both parents work together to create the parenting plan and submit the plan to the judge for review. If all is fair, the parenting plan will go into effect.
However, over time, life will change and some modifications to the parenting plan are necessary. When the time comes to modify the parenting plan, you need to be ready. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Parenting Plan Modification Reasons
A parenting plan modification can happen for many reasons.
One of the most common reasons for a parenting plan modification is the age of the children. When a child is old enough to enter school, you will have to accommodate the logistics of taking the child to and from school. You may also have to consider school and summer holidays and determine how they change the plan.
Additional reasons to modify a parenting plan could include if one or both parents remarries other people, if one parent has to relocate to an area far away, or even if a child requests a change.
Financial changes can also require a modification, particularly with regard to how you divide expenses, especially those expenses you share - ones that child support does not handle.
Ultimately, whatever the reason for the modification, the main goal is to adjust the plan so that it is fair to both parents, especially with the amount of time each parent spends with the kids.
Significant and Insignificant Parenting Plan Modifications
Parenting plan modifications can be significant or insignificant in nature.
An insignificant modification will not have a major impact on the child's life. The insignificant modification is a simple change that is necessary for the logistics of caring for the child, such as a change in a parent's work schedule. Changes like these can be either temporary or permanent, but do not require an adjustment for the child.
A significant parenting plan modification is one that requires proof of cause in court. These modifications will cause a major adjustment to the child's daily life, such as where they live the majority of the time. The court will decide if the parent who requests the modification has cause to do so.
Some factors the court will consider when deciding to approve the modification include whether both parents agree of the change, if the children are unsafe, or if one parent is guilty of not following the parenting plan. The judge will consider the reasons for the request and make a decision based on what is best for the children.
Parenting Plan Modification Process
You will have to petition the court to modify your parenting plan. The other parent receives a summons notifying him or her about the petition and explains how they should respond.
The parent who files the petition will have to show their proof that necessitates the modification. Proof can simply be a work schedule or a marriage certificate to a new spouse. Your attorney will assist you with your modification to make sure your rights are protected and the changes are legitimate.
Your attorney can help you prepare for your parenting plan modification. Bear in mind you will have to deal with your parenting plan for as long as your children are minors, so you should expect to make some changes throughout the years. When the time comes to modify your parent plan, contact us at Smith, Massey, Brodie, Guynn and Mayes, P.A., for assistance.